Oh, the Irony: Business Ethics Journal Retracted for Plagiarism

March 8, 2013

8 Mar (RETRACTION WATCH) – In January, Retraction Watch reported on a paper retracted from the Journal of Business Ethics for duplication. That earned the author a five-year publishing ban. This week, they learned of a case of plagiarism in another journal in the field, the Journal of Academic and Business Ethics. Here’s an email editor Russell Baker — no, not that Russell Baker — sent to his contact list on Wednesday:

“I have recently been made aware of a case of plagiarism in one of our journals. The Journal of Academic and Business Ethics Volume 5 contained an article with a significant amount of plagiarism that went undetected in the review and publication process. The article was originally web published in August 2011. Pursuant to the Academic and Business Research Institute (AABRI) plagiarism policy published on our www.aabri.com website publication procedures page, the manuscript has been removed from publication and the author notified. I have also notified the manuscript indexing services we work with requesting they remove this manuscript from their databases.

AABRI takes plagiarism very seriously. Effective August 2012 every manuscript received for review is evaluated with plagiarism detection software prior to editorial review. Prior to that it was only used for manuscripts or sources that appeared questionable. While plagiarism detection tools like Turnitin.com are not infallible, the millions of articles and websites in their system provides for a significantly more in-depth plagiarism evaluation than reviewers are capable of performing. Additionally, in August 2012 we also began reviewing all journal manuscripts published prior to that time. Several were removed from publication. This is ongoing. Unfortunately, the manuscript in question had not yet been through the Turnitin.com review process.

I want to take this opportunity to apologize to our authors, readers, and other stakeholders for this occurrence. While AABRI is a for-profit publishing organization, we will not intentionally publish plagiarized material to enrich the coffers and all instances of plagiarism discovered will be dealt with promptly. To those of you who have access to plagiarism detection software I ask that you submit your manuscripts therein for review prior to submission to an AABRI journal or any other journal.

If you have any questions regarding the AABRI plagiarism policy or any of our publishing procedures, please do not hesitate to contact me.”

Retraction Watch asked Baker — whose AABRI publishes 19 journals — which paper had been retracted, since it’s not in his email. There are two papers listed on the journal’s site as “removed from publication,” but their titles have been removed too. Manuscript 111075, from volume six of the journal, simply reads “This manuscript has been removed from publication.” Manuscript 11902, from volume five, reads “This manuscript has been removed from publication pending additional review.”

It would appear that it’s manuscript 11902 that was the offending one, according to a February 26 blog post by Jeffrey Beall. Beall highlights plagiarized passages from paper — “Eminent Domain: In Theory — It Makes Good Cents” — by Benjamin A. Neil from Towson University in Maryland:

Unfortunately, this article, published in March, 2012, contains a lot of text that originally appeared earlier in other publications. The copied text completely lacks attribution in some cases and lacks proper attribution (quotation marks) in others.

As Beall puts it:

“This begs the question, Why on earth would someone plagiarize in a business ethics journal? What were they thinking?

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